Symptoms of HIV

(Last Updated On: November 7, 2015)

The truth is that many people with HIV do not develop any symptoms at all. But the few people who do, experience symptoms similar to flu within days to weeks after being exposed to HIV. The symptoms may include fever, tiredness, and headache and enlarged lymph nodes in the neck region. Interestingly, these symptoms may go away in a short period of time. Here is a detailed information about HIV/AIDS facts.

You may experience no symptoms after being infected. That is because the disease progression varies markedly among individuals. It may range between a few weeks to up to 10 years. The period between infection and detection of viable antibodies in an HIV positive individual is referred to as “window period”.

Meanwhile, the virus multiplies rapidly attacking and destroying cells of the immune system before the manifestation of AIDS. Normally, the immune cells are supposed to help the body fight pathogenic organisms such as bacteria, viruses, cancer cells and fungi. They are the “soldiers” of the body.

Now, the primary immune cells which fight against infectious agents called CD4 or T4 cells are destroyed by HIV, thereby exposing the body to further attack by disease -causing organisms. Once the immune system is weakened, these further symptoms may develop:

  • Short-term memory loss
  • Herpes infections which may cause mouth, genital and anal sores.
  • Weight Loss
  • Tiredness and lack of energy
  • Persistent yeast infections
  • Flaky skin or frequent skin rashes
  • Frequent fevers and sweats

HIV infection can progress to cause AIDS. AIDS is seen in HIV infected individuals who have less than 200 CD4 cells count per micrometer in their blood. AIDS also defines few other disease conditions– about 26 of them, which occur in HIV positive people but rarely in healthy people. This explains why opportunistic infections are also common in AIDS patients. Many of these infections are caused by viruses, fungi and bacteria.

Some of the common symptoms include:

  • Shortness of breath and cough
  • Neurological involvement including loss of coordination as well as seizures
  • Dysphagia or difficulty in swallowing
  • Mental confusion and forgetfulness
  • Loss of vision
  • Fever
  • Weight loss and fatigue
  • Coma
  • Headaches and stiffness of the neck
  • Nausea, vomiting and abdominal cramps

Because of their low Immune status, people with AIDS are also prone to developing certain cancers. This includes cervical cancers, Kaposi sarcoma and lymphomas, which are proliferative cancers of the immune system. Kaposi sarcoma produces round brown, red or purple spots. These spots are commonly found in the mouth or skin.

Sadly, the average time of survival once AIDS diagnosis has been made is no more than 2 or 3 years. It is better to see your doctor if you develop any of the HIV symptoms above, in order to commence prompt treatment.

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